Marguarette M. Bolton-Blatt, Major 20th Century Writers, Y20.6201.01, Summer 2000 Page #
I have flown through time as if I am in a time tunnel with no light at the end. Im Gadfly, your not so common housefly. I have had the misadventures of living up to my name which is linked to my relative, the horsefly and to legends of the past found in Greek mythology. I have inexplicably travelled through time and have encountered legends of fiction--oh the things that I have seen, oh the things that I have experienced!
At times I felt like a voyeur; at other times, I got into peoples hair (Einsteins was the best!); still others, I had become a companion. Oh the things that I have seen, images magnified a thousand times, some beautiful in my kaleidoscope eyes--others made ugly by its amplification. Why do people do what they do? Is it their self-absorption and lost dreams that cause them to hurt, rather than love the people that come their way? I wish my bite could be as forceful as that of my namesake, but, like Socrates and Solzhenitsyn, I was an annoyance to the characters that I landed on because of my eternal critique of their behavior. Each was in pursuit of a dream--some lost and some found. I wish I could have changed the circumstances of some of the characters that I met--but then again, if did, there would be no story, would there?
It all started one May day when I flew through the open window of room 221. I buzzed about the room frantically looking for a way out. As the people started entering the classroom, I hid like a speck on the wall--trapped with no escape! What was this gathering all about? There was talk of narcissism, lost dreams, psychological depth, cyberperformances... little did I know that my fate would lie in the books of these students.
I tried to escape, but I got stuck between the pages of a book...Incest...Incest!? Oi Vey! Ive been transported back in time to France! I cry out, HELP ME, HELP ME, WONT SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME! but no one hears me, let alone cares for the likes of me.... Will I be able to return to the Summer of 2000, to that classroom in New York City? Its light years ahead.
1. Incest - Anais Nin
Oh well, I might as well live out my destiny here in Paris--it appears to be the 1930s. At least it is Spring and I can explore. I have flown inside a window of an apartm
ent. I thought I was stuck between the pages of fiction, but I cant believe my eyes. Im here in a room with Henry Miller, the author. There is someone in the room with him--its his lover. He calls her Anais. I feel like a voyeur--when will I learn to stop flying into windows? Well, let me fly outside, I dont need to stay here and watch this.
Later, I see Ms. Nin, and begin to follow her. I cant believe it, she just left Mr. Miller and is now on her way to another lover. I later find out that she is married. Her husbands name is Hugo, and although he says nothing, I think he is suspicious of her affairs. He is a banker, and is her security. He rents the apartment for Ms. Nin, so that she can write. Ha! thats a laugh! I am appalled by her, and how she can jump from one bed to another with this insatiable appetite. Im losing count, Hugo, Allendy, Eduardo, Henry, June, Rank, Arnaud... What is she trying to prove? Who is she seeking? She speaks of her constant lying, which I guess she has to do in order to keep everyone happy, but said that she does not lie to her journal--or perhaps, she does, through omissions.
I hear her talking of her father, and how he abandoned his family when she was young. It seems that they are going to reunite after all these years. She is excited. I cant believe it! They have met, and are now involved in a sexual relationship--how is this possible? Now I understand the title of this book, Incest. Are all her relationships based on the need for an unfilled father image?
She asks herself, Is this love of my Double that self-love again? Is it lack of resistance to the difficulties and pains of life with the Other...is it always the moi--my Father, the male half of me? (p. 221) It appears that it is true when they say that the apple does not fall far from the tree. As their affair continues, without guilt or shame, they appear to need each other in order to be whole. She is constantly talking about how she loves herself in her father; that his narcissism is more ingrained in him than she; his self-love, which he can express with me, is stronger than mine... (p. 288) He speaks of his life as Don Juan, and that his daughter is his crowning achievement--that there can be no other lover after this....
Im flying around in circles, with no escape. The hardest to witness was Anais abortion of Henrys child. How she suffered, yet she couldnt wait to jump back into her active love affairs. When she seeks help, she becomes involved with her analysts, Allendy and Rank.... I need to leave, I dont think I can take much more of this sordid, sad tale that is totally revolved around self and narcissism--and to think this is non-fiction.
She is planning to sail to New York in order to be with Dr. Rank. She has lied to both Hugo and Henry, and both retaliate. I see Hugo holding back on giving money to her. Her relationship with Henry is waning, and I see everything crumbling around her. Perhaps its better if she leaves and starts over in new surroundings. She is even talking about focusing more on her writing. I wish her luck, but Im staying behind, and will take my chances here in Paris. Its the Fall, and I should think of hibernating. Bon Voyage Ms. Nin! Thanks for the education (sic).
2. Einsteins Dream - Alan Lightman
Ah! What a long restful nap Ive had. The bells from a clock tower has awakened me. Funny, I dont remember being near a clock tower when I went to sleep. It feels like Spring--could Ive slept for so long? Where am I? It smells different. Damn! Im no longer in Paris, the street signs look German, and it looks like Ive gone back in time--the opposite of Rip Van Winkle. Im going to have to think twice before sleeping again. Maybe Im dreaming. Look over there, theres a man whose head is covered with wonderful, wild hair. I think Ill lodge myself in his hair for a while and learn where I am.
I dont believe it, people are addressing this man as Einstein, could it be? I have somehow gone back to 1905 and am in Berne, Switzerland. How can this be? It seems that Einstein is working on his theory of relativity, and the essence of time. How lucky can I be--do you think he can help me get back to the year 2000? (Geez, that sounds so far away!) Im going to stick to him like glue, and if I stay in his hair, hell never know that Im there.
Dr. Einstein is incredible, he hardly sleeps (and I cant blame him). All he thinks of are the different dimensions of time. How does he think these things up? He speaks of time going in circles, standing still, past, future, present, no time, mechanical time and body time to mention a few--how does he do it? Ive never thought of it before, but time could be linear or abstract depending where you are.
Amazing! But Al, listen to me, how can I go back? Can you help me? What do you mean you cant right now because youre just starting on your quantum theory? Come on Al, help a lost fly out--use me in your experiment, Ill do anything to get back, please Al. What do you mean land on top of this metal? What is that bright light--they dont have bug zappers in 1905 do they? Wait Al, Ive changed my mind, no, dont pull the switch, ARRGHH...
3. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitzyn
Close Al, but definitely no brass ring! We almost made it, its in the 1950s but Ive landed in a Gulag in Siberia, and Im freezing! Its 41 degrees below zero. I should have stayed in Switzerland. Hopefully, I wont be here for too long. Its dawn, and the prisoners are rising. Theres someone still in bed--I'll go over to wake him so that he doesnt get into trouble. I heard his name is Ivan. Ivan--wake up! Get out of your bunk before roll call, Ivan! He doesnt feel well and wants to go on the sick list, but they wont let him, instead he is ordered to scrub the floors of the guardhouse, later he is building a brick wall.
Ivan seems to have forgotten that he doesnt feel well, and is happy to be working. In listening to Ivan talking with the guards, I learn that he has been in prison for eight years. How has he survived these conditions for so long? It seems that with the prisoners, if they work, time goes by quickly, and depending how they work, it affects their food rations. Hey Al, I wish you were here to observe your theory on time. Did you know that the Soviets passed a decree that the sun stands at its highest point at one instead of noon!? (p. 53)
Ivan has learned how to live within the system, he is a survivor! I watch how he hides bits of bread for later; smuggles a piece of steel to his barracks, and has obtained tobacco to last him for awhile. He is actually thankful for his day. They have their own code of ethics, and Ivan is proud that he got through the day without losing his dignity. I cant believe he is happy with his day, and thankful for his good luck. As you said, Dr. Einstein, everything is relative.
4. Narcissus and Goldman - Hermann Hesse
I have somehow jumped from one very cold, dreary place to another cold, damp place. It is an old monastery, the Mariabronn, in Germany. It appears to be during the Middle Ages--I cant believe I have gone from the 1950s to the 1300s! This travelling in time is incredible, but scary. Einstein, did you imagine this when you were thinking of time and its different dimensions? I am attracted to two of the people here, one is a monk, whose name is Narcissus. The other is Goldmund, his pupil. They are both beautiful looking people and interesting to watch as they interact with one another.
They are so different, yet as I flit around each of them and fly close to their eyes, I see a strong attraction between Goldmund and Narcissus. Narcissus is the ascetic, the thinker, linear and will not allow love to enter into his life, even though he loves Goldmund deeply. Goldmund is a lover, and is impulsive and abstract, and is hurt that Narcissus does not acknowledge the affection that they feel for one another. They are totally opposite--I guess it is true when they say that opposites attract.
Goldmund was brought to the monastery by his father to pay penance for his mother. In overhearing conversations, it appears that Goldmunds mother was a gypsy, and ran away leaving him and his father behind. Its sad watching Goldmund as he carries this burden with him. He does not seem to remember his mother, but Narcissus is trying to help Goldmund remember her. Narcissus finally succeeds, Goldmund remembers!
Something strange is happening, I watch as the two seem to be going in separate directions. Narcissus goes into retreat to meditate, and Goldmund, not understanding Narcissus and his fear of loving, feels alone. I have decided to become Goldmunds companion, as he needs something--even if it is an annoying fly. It is peaceful here, not like the Gulag. We go out into the sunshine and forest to pick herbs, and we are free. One day while picking herbs, Goldmund meets Lise. She introduces him to love, and I once again feel like a voyeur. I see a change come over Goldmund, hes become a teenager in love! He has become obsessive and not thinking straight. I followed Lise home and found that she is married. I tried to tell Goldmund this, but he wont listen. He tells Narcissus goodbye and then is broken hearted when he realizes the truth Ive been trying to tell him. Hurt, he doesnt want to go back, and thus begins our adventure.
My travels with Goldmund is like being in movie. The countryside is beautiful along with the women. It is easier to wander and go from town to town during these times than during the 20th century. Poor Goldmund has become obsessed with finding his mother and in doing so, has gone from one sexual experience to another without commitment. I see him rebel from his teachings at the monastery and commit many sins, but there seems to be no remorse. He has murdered, committed adultery, stole, and coveted among other sins.
We have now been on the road for several years, and I m growing tired of this life. I wish I can go back to the monastery or go back home. I dont understand how Goldmund can continue like this. We have to rest. Wait, he has entered a cloister--is it the Mariabronn? No...its another one, but at least we have a roof over our head for the evening. I convince him to attend mass in the morning in the hopes he will see what a life he is leading. It worked, there appears to be remorse! He confesses to a priest, and he seems relieved of the burden that he has been carrying with him. Thank God! As we are leaving the church, we see a ray of sunshine shine on the most beautiful wooden madonna. I see Goldmund is attracted to it and is overwhelmed with emotion and reverence. As we leave the church, it appears that Goldmund has changed. We are seeking out Master Niklaus, the artist that has done the madonna. Goldmund appears to have found meaning in his life--a goal!
I cant believe it! Goldmund wants to become an artist, he wants to become an apprentice. Finally, we are settling down to a life with a routine, a warm bed, and food, glorious food! I never knew Goldmund had such talent, but I see it revolves around one person: Narcissus. He still carries this love for him, and once again he is obsessed, obsessed in making a masterpiece in the image of the apostle John, but it is Narcissus. Goldmund is certainly a man who does not have balance. Everything he does, he does in excess, centered around his needs. This time he is thinking of his life and his mortality. By doing this statue he feels that he will leave something behind that will last for an eternity. I have never thought about it, but an artist is narcissistic, arent they? They want immortality through their work, this way people will remember them forever, wont they?
Goldmunds image of John is finished. Arrgh! I cant believe it! We have been comfortable for so many years and Master Niklaus has offered Goldmund to be his successor and marry his daughter Lisbeth. But what does Goldmund do? He turns him down! He wants to begin wandering again. I dont think I can go with him, I like it here, but he says that he needs his freedom! Cant he think of anyone else but himself?
During our new journey, the plague has broken out. A flys paradise with all the dead bodies. We watch how people deal with death. Some try to run away, while others have orgies in these last days of their lives. As always with humans, blame must be placed on someone during a disaster. This time it is the Jews, and their homes are burned. I see Goldmund changing once again. Before he challenged death to take him, unafraid, but he now takes a different view on death. He doesnt want to die. We again enter an empty church. I hear his prayers: Dear God, see what has become of me....Ive become an evil and useless man. I have squandered my youth....I have killed, I have stolen, I have whored....I have seen many innocent people suffer and die, and many a wicked man swim in prosperity. Have you completely forgotten and abandoned us...do you want us all to perish? (p. 228-9)
Again, Goldmund appears to have changed and we are going home! Yes! Going home to Master Niklaus, I cant wait! As we approach the town, it too has been hit by the plague...Im very sad to see the devastation. Master Niklaus has died caring for Lisbeth, who survived but has changed. Goldmund begins to draw once again--totally losing himself, until one day he catches sight of the Governors mistress, Agnes, and he has forgotten all the lessons that he has learned in his travels. I tried to remind him, but as always, he thinks with his heart, and not with his mind. He begins to court her and is caught with her. He is sentenced to be hung. Now he has done it! As death faces him, he realizes that he is not ready to die as there are too many things that he feels were left undone. I dont know how he can get out of this situation--only a miracle can save him. If he dies here, does that mean Ill be trapped in the Middle Ages? Well, at least Im sought of at home.
What luck! A priest came to hear Goldmunds confession, and who was it, but Narcissus! He has bargained for Goldmunds life, and you are not going to believe the irony: Narcissus is now the abbot of the Mariabronn and has adopted a new name: John! We are going to return to the Mariabronn. Goldmund seems happy to begin working at the monastery as an artist. Narcissus heard his confession, and it helped Goldmund achieve some peace. It is good to see the two of them together again. They complement each other so well--but they are still frustrated. Neither one wants to admit their affection for one another.
Its been two years since our return, and I can see the wanderlust returning to Goldmunds eyes. He says he is feeling old and wants to retrace the steps of his youth and all that was precious to him. He says he will leave when he finishes his image of Mary, which resembles Lydia, a girl he loved many years before. I cant go with him, I cant go through this again. Im staying with Narcissus. I, too, am growing old and weary.... The absence of Goldmund is felt by Narcissus, as he realizes how important Goldmund is to him. Its been several months since Goldmund has left and the summer is ending. Goldmund has come back, he is a broken man and is ill. I should have gone with him, I could have helped him. Why didnt he stay here? He never learns his lesson. Do you know what he did? He went back to pursue Agnes, but she was no longer interested in him. Oh Goldmund, poor Goldmund....
Finally! The two have expressed their feelings for each other, but Goldmund is dying. He dreams about his mother, that it is she that will come to take him. His only regret is that he did not make an image of her--the great mother-Eve. (p. 315). This time, he is willing to accept death. It is too sad to watch as Goldmund tells Narcissus, "But how will you die when your time comes, Narcissus, since you have no mother? Without a mother, one cannot love. Without a mother, one cannot die." (p. 315) I watch Narcissus care for his friend until he dies, but I know that Narcissus will never forget Goldmund's last words....
5. Lolita - Vladimir Nabakov
I feel like Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett in the TV program, Quantum Leap. Somehow Ive left the sadness of Narcissus in the Middle Ages, and have landed back in the United States during the early 1950s.
Yikes! Ive just witnessed a murder. A man named Humbert Humbert has just shot--several times, I might add--a man named Quilty. I see a couple of my colleagues flying around Quiltys head. This is a little too grotesque for me. Wait Mr. Humbert let me go with you! Ill take my chances with you, you wouldnt hurt a fly, would you?
As he is driving, he is talking, recalling everything that brought him to this point. Poor HH, what a tragedy--but through it all, he has a sense of humor. He speaks of Lolita, but is she real or a figment of his imagination. Who was Dolores Haze, and who was Lolita? From how HH was talking, she sounded like a fairly ordinary little girl, perhaps more charming than some girls her age, and probably more sexually precocious, but still a child.
Was Humbert's world with Lolita completely internal and a fantasy? He identifies Lolita as one of a small and distinct class of girls that he has always pursued since his youth. He calls them nymphets. Is HH a pedophile, or a desperate man searching to regain his youth and his unfilled love with Annabel? He told me about Annabel. She was his first love, and it went unfilled because of her death. Since that time, Humbert began seeking nymphets. They were young girls between the ages of 9 and 14. Neither are good looks any criterion...[a] fey grace, the elusive, shifty, soul-shattering, insidious charm that separates the nymphet from such coevals of hers.... (p. 17) He tells me that he was careful of his actions with young girls, and seduced them in his mind. He did pursue prostitutes who were girl-like, but lost interest in them when they began to look like a young adult. Because of Annabels unfulfilled love, it sounded like he did not know how--or want to learn--how to love women. He did try. He married, while in Europe, but it didnt work because of his obsession with nymphets. He moved to the United States because of an inheritance from an uncle who lived here. After a breakdown, he came to New England and saw Lolita....
Lolita sounded bewitching, her childishness and sexual precocity seemed to identify her as something more than a mere woman for HH. She seemed to live somewhere along the line between childhood and womanhood, like some teenagers. He married Lolitas mother, in order to be closer to her. How tragic--and convenient for HH--when Lolitas mother was hit and killed by a car in front of their house. Because of this, it gave him an excuse to travel with Lolita, alone.
Humbert spoke of their travels cross-country--they must of appeared as a very odd couple. He spoke of the two of them constantly testing each other, perplexing one another, and still loving each other. He insisted that this was not a story of a naughty, young thing and a man in midlife crisis, whom she seduces. (He did admit that although he was obsessed with her and wanted her initially, he allowed her to instigate their first tryst.) His obsession with her, and her eventually leaving him has brought him to this end...this end of murder. Quilty had taken her from him.
In listening to him, I wondered if HH also served a purpose for Lolita. Did he fulfill a father image for Lolita, as her father had passed away? Was this an Oedipal fixation in reverse? Who was manipulating who?
Listen, HH, I hear sirens, we are being pursued by the police! Look out Humbert! Look out, we are going off the road! Watch out for the cows...poor HH, look at him being taken away by the police. Poor HH, now he must live with his dreams in jail....I must be slipping into his fantasy, as I see those beautiful bright-green flies that he is talking about. Let me go join them.
6. Portrait of a Young Man - James Joyce
My head is spinning from those green flies, and Ive been transported to Ireland during the turn of the 20th century. I see a young man, named Stephen Dedalus, he looks as though he is in need of a companion. He reminds me of someone I met in my travels.
My friend, I'm Gadfly, your companion for a short time. You remind me of someone I met in my time travels several eons ago, his name was Goldmund. He too was an artist, wanderer, lover of women and thought that he wanted to join the church. Both of you started at a young age .
The difference, my friend, is that you have known your family, and have grown within the church. You are searching for you--and who you are--but, you too are in search of a woman: Goldmund was looking for his mother, and you are looking for Eileen. You have experienced love, and at the same time experienced guilt and remorse for your so-called "sins." I urge you to continue your search and find your soul. You are a true artist, and perhaps, when you look back you will understand and accept your family, faith and Ireland with its many conflicts. I ask of one favor--take me with you. Perhaps with you, I will find my way back .
7. No Exit - Jean Paul Satre
Ay, bedad! Stephen, what has happened? I asked you if I could join you--but how did I get here? Ive landed straight into hell! Am I here because of the things I have seen with Ms. Nin, Goldmund, HH, Lolita and others? Do I have to pay for their sins? And, and look where I am--good God, this room is awful! Gaudy and filled with three very self centered characters: Inez, the bitch, Gaucin, the vile and Estelle, the vapid vamp!
It's very warm in here--and the colors and conflict of these people do not help! How will I get out? There are no windows. Maybe the fireplace, or perhaps the door will open again.
Why am I here? I can't offer them advice, as they certainly didn't follow any--they're in Hell! I know! I can pass the time until my next adventure by being a typical fly. I can be an annoyance to them. I can create even more of a hell for them. Hummm, here I go, who shall be first? Let's see Gaucin! Bzzzz, I'll fly around his ear, Bzzzz--coward--coward--coward--bzzzz--were you a hero? Who says? Bzzz--coward .
Ha! This is fun--who will be my next victim? Inez! Bzzz--bitch--bzzzz--bitch--bzzz remember Florence?--would you like Estelle? bzzz--bitch--alone--bzzz Youre alone...you can't kill me. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Gee, it's been a long time since I've had so much fun annoying people--ever since that dreadful day in May! Ah! Now on to Estelle--bzzz--alone, alone, no man, no one--bzzz, no mirror,bzzz how do you look--what's that smudge on your face--ha, ha bzzzz alone Garcin alone, Inez--alone, Estelle alone bzzzz
Oops, they are getting annoyed--I'll hide behind that grotesque statue, and come out later when they've quieted down and least expect me, and make their hell even more hellish .bzzzzz.
All of them are sinful, and they can't escape their guilt because there is no remorse--what a sad lot! You think that they would learn by now that its not about themselves, that they should learn to compromise and be dead in a somewhat serene surrounding--but they won't, will they? They are all selfish and continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Didnt Einstein speak of this when he spoke of time being a circle? Did he have insight into this hell? Hummm, well, anyway, let me continue my fun, for the moment. Wait! The door, it is opening--quick let me buzz off, bzzzz .
8. God Dies by the Nile - Nawal El Saadawi
The door has opened! Here is my chance to escape from this Hell created by Satre! Somehow I have landed in a fly's paradise! Dung in the streets, and the sun is hotter than the hell I just left, but it 's the sun, and I'm outside, a free spirit again! Look at the kids over there--look at how they allow the flies to flit about their faces. I think I'll join my fellow flies, and find out where I am.... According to my allies, I'm in a small village in Egypt called Kafr el-Teen.
They tell me it's ruled by a Mayor who is racially mixed: British and Egyptian. He is surrounded by three cohorts: the Imam of the Mosque, Sheikh Hamzawi; the barber and local healer, Haj Ismail; and the Head of the Village Guard, Sheikh Zahran. As I listen to my fellow flies, I learn that the Mayor is seen as a kind of demigod in the village, and I've heard the people talk and say, "We are God's slaves when it's time to say our prayers only. But we are the Mayor's slaves all the time" (p. 53) From what I have seen flying around, he is an excellent study in this social system of patriarchy, and his victims are, of course, the women and lower class of his village.
As I fly around this village and look at things through my Western, kaleidoscope eyes, I am repulsed even more because these sights are incredibly magnified by my vision. I see a patriarchal system that is focused only toward the greatest interest of the men in the ruling class--in especially the Mayor--and if this ideology is not accepted fully by the peasantry, then they are coerced by one of the three Mayor's disciples. I thought I had escaped from Hell, but the more I look around I feel as though I've found a hell on earth!
I watch Zakeya, an older female, and a relatively powerless member of this toiling class of peasantry--the antithesis of the Mayor--squatting pitifully outside of her mud hut. She lives opposite the Mayor's house, which is made of bricks and surrounded by a large iron gate. This gate and home points out the vast difference between those who rule and those who are ruled.
Zakeya and her family are the Mayor's prime victims. He is constantly pillaging her family. The women are preyed upon and destroyed for being women, and the men are uprooted for failing to fully support the Mayor and his lust. I heard that in spite of Zakeya's abusive marriage; the loss of her son, Galal, who was forcefully enlisted into the army; and the loss of her niece Nefissa, who was raped and forced into exile by the Mayor, she continues to have faith in Allah. She prays to Him to bring Galal and Nefissa back to her. I have heard her do this as I fly around her. Through all her losses, she cries out to her God calling Him just and merciful. This appears to sustain her, giving her hope and providing a basis for the rationalization of her own life and all the evil that is going on around her. I give her credit for such a strong belief, and through all this, I still see her continue to experience loss in her family.
Her brother, Kafrawi, is arrested and taken to jail for the murder of one of the townsmen, Elwau. I know Kafrawi is innocent, as I happened to be down by the river and saw who killed Elwau. The Mayor had Elwau killed to protect himself from being accused of what had happened to Nefissa. I watch Zakeya suffer further loss when Haj Ismail manipulates her into believing that she is the cause of all her family problems, and ask that she and her niece Zeinhab do a pilgrimage to the mosque, Sayeda Zeinhab. Upon their return, they are to strictly adhere to Allah's orders, which are Haj Ismails orders. He has taken advantage of her naiveté through conspiracy and a gross misuse of the Islamic religion, and for what? For the Mayor's satisfaction of getting Zakeya's other niece, Zeinhab! I tried to warn her, but she was in such a trance, she couldn't hear me, let alone swat at me...I tried to tell her...but she couldn't hear me.... So, upon their return from the pilgrimage, Zeinhab goes to "work" at the Mayor's house, and is raped, like her sister.
Galal, Zakeya's only child, returns from the army, she is ecstatic--her prayers have been answered. Galal marries Zeinhab and stops her from working at the Mayor's house, which she does gladly. I am happy to see things finally going well with Zakeya and her family.
I've spoken too soon!
While I was flitting around the barber shop I heard them conspiring on how the Mayor could punish Galal and get back Zeinhab--is there no end to this man's selfishness? What they are saying will once again bring down Zakeya's family. I must try to warn them--to get them to leave--but they won't go, they won't listen.... Galal is arrested on trumped up charges of theft and is taken to jail. I last saw Zeinhab following Galal to the town where the jail is located and heard a rumor that she turned to prostitution. Poor Zeinhab, I don't think she will ever return Kafr el-Teen--how can she with all the destruction that one man, and his followers, were allowed to do because of wanton greed to have whatever--and whoever--they wanted. The village people are like pawns in a game!
Zakeya is devastated, but at the same time, I notice a change in her--it seems as though she is beginning to see the face of God. "God" begins to become demystified in her mind. She begins to see "God" in the image of someone...it is...it is the Mayor! I can see this realization is causing the wheels to turn in her mind. Quietly, Zakeya is moving toward revenge against her worst enemy--and the villages'. She is going to kill him! Don't do it, Zakeya! Don't do it! I'm too late. She is so consumed with revenge that she has killed the Mayor with her peasant tool, the hoe--how ironic!
Zakeya is arrested and found guilty. I am with her on her journey to jail--perhaps, somehow, she will be reunited with her brother, son and nieces....
I have never seen such exploitation of power over others, as I have seen in Kafr el-Teen. The misuses of Islam to legitimize one man's exploitation of the women of the lower class along with its men, was ugly--and yet, it also backfired on one of the Mayor's own, the Sheikh Hamzawi and his family, the Imam, of all people! Perhaps that was Allah's punishment to them. Not only did I have to witness these atrocities, I also had to be a witness--a voyeur--of sick acts of sex: bestiality and necrophilia! I thought I have seen and experienced many things in this time journey, but this chapter of my journey has been a real eye opener.
I must try and find a way out of here, as I don't believe I can stay and see much more. My eyes magnifying these scenes over and over again will make me nuts--HELP ME! HELP ME! WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME??!!
9. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Somehow I was caught up in the desert winds in Egypt and have been transported to England. As I look around, I do not see anything that is familiar. Im not in the past, nor am I in the present--could it be the future? Everything is so sterile, I dont even see a fellow fly. I must be careful because I do not know what they will do to me if Im spotted. Wait, I here people coming, its a class--deja vu--isnt this where I started? A man is leading it, let me listen. The year is AF 632--when in the hell is that? I feel as though Im riding a pendulum, going to the extreme right and into the Middle Ages, and now Ive gone to the extreme left, and into the future! I just want to get back into the middle somewhere--is that too much to ask?
The man leading the class is the Director, he is explaining this place to them. I will try to follow and listen.
What kind of world is this? I would rather spend an eternity in Kafr el-Teen. Each journey seems to bring me to another kind of hell, filled with very self-centered, narcissistic people. Imagine living in a world without mothers and fathers. There appears to be no morals, or family, only an obsession with physical pleasure, and the misuse of technology. In this world, each person is raised in a test tube. The government controls every stage of everyones development and life, from embryo to maturity. Each new human is classified, such as Alpha, who is on top of this hierarchy and Epsilon who is on the bottom. Once classified, the embryos are manipulated chemically to either stimulate or retard their physical and mental growth. While the children are sleeping they are conditioned to accept their predetermined role in life by having phrases repeated over and over so that they will behave in a safe and acceptable manner.
Who would want to live like this? How did individual humans allow themselves to become like this? This society is full of human clones,they are completely devoid of personality. Every person is conditioned to love three things: Henry Ford, their idol; soma, a wonder drug; and sex. It would be interesting to see what the reactions would be of the past characters that I met--in especially Anais Nin, or the Mayor. On second thought, I dont think they would like it hear, because they will no longer be in control.
I must try to escape. I overhear Bernard Marx, an upper class Alpha inviting a young woman named Lenina Crowne to travel to a Savage Reservation. I hear that it is one of the last places on earth where people are allowed to live without the modern amenities such as soma, birth control, and helicopters, and it is in the United States! I must try and go with them--perhaps I will find home. Ive made it! Theres dirt, theres dogs--and there are flies!
Bernard and Lenina meet a young boy and his mother Linda, who originally came from that world. Linda had become pregnant many years ago, which was not only illegal but also a disgraceful offense. They were convinced to go back to the new world--I told them not go, that their life was better here, but Linda wanted to go home. The people there are fascinated with them, if you can believe that, and they are practically celebrities. But what I feared most happened, the differences between the two worlds begin to tear apart John, because he was raised differently, with values and morals. This new world is clashing with his beliefs. Oh no! I cant believe it, Linda, his mother, has died. What is he going to do alone in this world--he cannot relate to anyone here, I fear for him. I try to talk to him, but he has isolated himself--and people continue to bother him, they dont understand his confusion and grief. What sadness! John has hung himself. This must of seemed like his only escape....
For me, Im flying--back to the Reservation, its as close to home as I can get.
My Journey through time
1000 A.D. 1500 2000 2500 3000
Narcissus and Goldmund
Brave New World
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
God Dies by The Nile